Ask anyone who watched the Arizona Cardinals last season — heck, ask anyone who talked to anyone who watched the Arizona Cardinals last season — and chances are they’ll tell you about how bad the offensive line was.
An NFL-worst 58 sacks allowed. An NFL-worst 1,204 rushing yards.
Injuries ravaged the group and ineffectiveness hurt the team, and while there are many reasons the team decided to make a coaching change, the failures up front undoubtedly helped lead to the move.
The Cardinals hired Bruce Arians as head coach, and shortly after Arians tabbed Harold Goodwin as his offensive coordinator.
“What he brings in that area, his expertise there and now stepping in front of the offense as the coordinator and dealing with those things,” Arians said. “Yeah, I will be calling the plays, but in all offensive coordinator duties, Harold will take those.”
As Goodwin said, the hope is he’ll be able to spend much of his time working with the offensive line.
“That’s my passion,” he said of the offensive line. “Coaching offense is my passion as well.
“I’ve been watching the guys here recently and kind of like what I see. Obviously there’s a long way to go because everybody can get better — including myself — but I assure you we’re going to do a good job.”
By all accounts, Goodwin has his work cut out for him, but he views Arizona’s line a bit differently.
“I think there’s talent there,” he said. “Just coming out of Indy, all you need is guys who are willing to work and you can have success.”
Goodwin said his experience with the Colts leads him to believe that the Cardinals can succeed up front, and while his line in Indianapolis allowed 41 sacks last season and paved the way for the NFL’s 22nd-best rushing attack, they did win 11 games and reach the postseason.
And if financial commitment is any indication, the Cardinals have invested more into their line than the Colts did theirs.
“I think there’s enough talent here to win games,” Goodwin said.
Arians said one of the benefits to the injury barrage up front last season was that some of the team’s younger players got a chance to play, which in turn gives the coaching staff a better idea of what kind of players are on the roster.
“You can evaluate nine or 10 guys, just like what happened with us in Indianapolis,” he said. “It was a revolving door; Harold did an unbelievable job with those guys.”
Arians, who joked the offense “has nowhere to go but up”, guaranteed the Cardinals won’t rank near the bottom in offense under his watch.
“I’m excited with the group of guys, the teachers that we have,” Arians said. “And then with Harold’s leadership in front, there’s going to be a high intensity level.”